This Is Not the Start of a Joke: A Monkey and a Banana Were Riding a Tandem Bicycle
Shellie Zacharia


She didn’t think he would notice the pink cowboy boots. He was busy with another customer, some college boy who wanted to be a racecar driver for a themed frat party. But he called out “Excuse me” as she headed to the door and then “Excuse me” again when she didn’t stop. She walked out the door, and the next thing she knew he had grabbed her by the arm. His hand was dry and made her think of an old painter boyfriend.

“Josh,” she said.

“I’m not Josh, and those aren’t your boots,” he said.

“What’s your name?” she asked.

He held her arm. He said, “Clyde.”

She looked down at the pink boots. “These aren’t mine,” she said. She had left her running shoes next to a pair of alien feet in the costume shop. Or maybe they were dinosaur feet.

“I’m calling the cops,” he said.

“No. Please. Let me explain.”

“What’s your name?”

“Bonnie.”

“Liar,” he said, but he smiled.

“Betty,” she said.

“Okay, Bonnie Betty, here’s the deal.”

She sighed. He let go of her arm.

“I need your help,” Clyde said. “I need a monkey. Or a banana. You choose. We’re going bike riding.”

“Explain.”

“Of course.”


The monkey and the banana rode the tandem bicycle around the northwest side of town. They did not go very far from the costume shop.

When they stopped at a traffic light, the monkey said something and the banana said, “You have to take your head off for me to hear you.”

The monkey did so and said, “Does this really help your business? Riding around in different costumes?”

The banana said, “Sometimes it isn’t riding a bicycle. Sometimes it’s just a costume dancing on the sidewalk. Once I had a pirate on roller skates. Have to catch people’s attention.”

“Makes more sense for you to ride in front,” the monkey said. “Like I’m chasing you and you’re always just slightly ahead.”

“You’re right,” the banana said.

“I know.”

“You’re interesting.”

“So are you.”


“Why did you steal the boots?” Clyde asked after they’d set the bicycle in the grass and sat down at a picnic table in the park.

“I got dumped.”

“Feeling reckless.”

“My name is Tina.”

He nodded. “The boots are bright pink. You don’t seem like a bright pink woman.”

“Exactly.”

“I think I get it.”

“When we were at war, things were easy,” she said. “When we fought, at least I knew what he was angry about. But then he got quiet. Peacefully quiet. He didn’t say much to me at all. Then he said I’d become boring. Goodbye.”

“Nothing boring about a girl in a monkey costume riding a tandem bike,” Clyde said.

“True.”

“You hoping to get him back?”

“No.”

“You can have the boots,” he said.

“Really?”

“Yes. You helped me out today. It was fun. I don’t get the tandem bike out very often.”

“So how does this end?” she asked.

“We ride off into the sunset,” he said.

She looked at the sky. Orange. Pink. “Let’s ride,” she said.



Shellie Zacharia lives in Gainesville, Florida. Her work has most recently appeared in A cappella Zoo, Gigantic Sequins, Conium Review, and Burrow Press Review. She has a chapbook forthcoming from Monkey Puzzle Press.